Teen Centre Crime Reduction Pilot Project
Age group: Adolescence (12-17)
Gender: Mixed (male and female)
Population served: Homeless and/or runaway; Youth in contact with law enforcement (and/or at risk)
Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 0
Continuum of intervention: Secondary crime prevention
The Teen Centre grew out of a need identified by the Town of Whitecourt to reduce high-risk behaviours such as substance abuse, drug dealing, vandalism, shop lifting, bullying, family violence and homelessness. Operating during ‘critical hours’ (during lunch and after school) and on weekends, the original target participation group included youth (aged 11-18) who were involved with or were at high-risk for involvement with drugs, alcohol and crime. The centre also works to identify family violence and homelessness that teens sometimes struggle with in secrecy.
The main goals of the Teen Centre Crime Reduction Pilot Project were developed out of a need identified by the Town of Whitecourt to:
- Reduce high-risk behaviours such as substance abuse, drug dealing, vandalism, shop lifting, bullying, family violence and homelessness; and
- Prevent crime, bullying, substance abuse and other problematic behaviours, based on the belief that targeting youth who might become involved with these activities is an effective use of resources.
The appropriate clientele for the Teen Centre Crime Reduction Pilot Project are 11-18 years old youth of both genders exhibiting high-risk behaviours such as drug and alcohol use, drug dealing, vandalism, shop lifting, and bullying. As the project developed and became well-known amongst youth in Whitecourt, participation extended to youth in grades 7-9 who were not currently engaged in high-risk behaviours but demonstrated the potential to become involved in criminal activities and substance abuse.
The core components of the Teen Centre Crime Reduction Pilot Project include the following:
- Daily visits of youth to the centre at lunch or after school on any given day;
- BE-YOU-tiful program for young women;
- Boys Club for young men;
- Career fair for matching youth with employers; and
- Skating that brings interested youth together in a supervised environment.
Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:
- Organizational requirements: Both the Town of Whitecourt and the Boys and Girls Club have strong organizations with significant capacity.
- Partnerships: Limited information on this topic.
- Training and technical assistance: Limited information on this topic.
- Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
- Materials & resources: Limited information on this topic.
The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:
- Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
- Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
- SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
- Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.
Gathering Canadian Knowledge
Canadian Implementation Sites
The Teen Centre Crime Reduction Pilot Project has been implemented in Whitecourt (Alberta). During the school year, up to 50 youth attend the Teen Centre at lunch or after school on any given day. Visits to the Teen Centre increased as the project progressed over the three years of funding.
Funding for the Teen Centre Crime Reduction Pilot Project was provided through the Safe Communities Innovation Fund (SCIF), Government of Alberta.
Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies
No information available.
A social return on investment (SROI) has been conducted on the Teen Centre Crime Reduction Pilot Project. The findings from this study have shown the following:
- The ratio for the Teen Centre Crime Reduction Pilot Project is 2.93:1 over three years, indicating that for every dollar invested in the program, there is a return of $2.93 of social value created; and
- The ratio of social value to investment increased substantially in the third year of operations due to the increased attendance, ability for the Teen Centre to adapt its programming to the needs of the teens, and the strong and positive relationships that the staff have developed with the youth, their parents, the schools, and other programs involved in the youths' lives.
Alberta Community Crime Prevention Organizations. (2015). Social Return on Investment (SROI) Case Study: Teen Centre Crime Reduction Pilot Project. Recipient of Safe Communities Innovation Fund, Government of Alberta. Available from: https://open.alberta.ca/publications/safe-communities-innovation-fund-pilot-project-executive-summaries
For more information on this program, contact:
Town of Whitecourt
Record Entry Date - 2018-03-13
Record Updated On - 2021-04-29
- Date modified: